THE EATBEAT: Old-fashioned ambience, predictable food draws visitors to Elks Club in BismarckThey asked if we had a preference for a server when we entered the Elks Club for dinner. Some people do. That was different. But the meals they serve at this large facility in the south end of the Capitol City are the same. The food, too, is predictable.
By: Marilyn Hagerty, Grand Forks Herald
BISMARCK — They asked if we had a preference for a server when we entered the Elks Club for dinner. Some people do.
That was different. But the meals they serve at this large facility in the south end of the Capitol City are the same. The food, too, is predictable.
The Elks Club is a place that is steeped in 102 years of tradition. It is one of the rare remaining dining places where people go mainly for steaks and where Tom and Jerry drinks are served during the holidays.
It sort of reminds me of the Bronze Boot, a longtime supper club that closed recently in Grand Forks.
It is a bit old-fashioned. But still, it is one of those places where friends look for friends. And during the state Legislature sessions, it is a popular spot for legislators who become bona fide members with guest cards.
The $11.99 ribeye steak is the signature item, according to manager Steve Furcht, who says, “We cut them ourselves.” Other best sellers are prime rib and salmon.
The 6-ounce petite tenderloin ($28) was highly recommended. So, when I went with Bismarck family members to the Elks Club there at the end of November, I made that my order. As I perused the menu, I was sure I didn’t want deep-fried gizzards. They are featured among the appetizers for $6.50.
The surroundings were pleasant — white tablecloths and nice large white cloth napkins. I was with daughter Gail Hagerty (GH), son-in-law Dale Sandstrom (DS) and granddaughter Carrie Sandstrom (CS). They ordered shrimp and tenderloin dinners that were up to high standards.
Salads were served swiftly. They were the typical lettuce salad with the little container of dressing on the side. There were some good toasted rounds of garlic bread and with it, liver pate served in small plastic cups.
There were pluses and minuses. The au gratin potatoes were a plus. The shrimp, large and lightly breaded, are nice because you can order three or four. I loved the way my tenderloin was done medium well. It was tender and full of flavor and enhanced by the mushrooms alongside on the plate.
Our server was good, but she removed plates as others finished. I found myself eating alone or not finishing my salad or my steak. I like it if the server waits until everyone has finished eating to clear the table.
People who go to the Bismarck Elks Club from time to time have their favorites. The English walnut sundae is one.
The vast dining room seats 160 people on the main floor. The Teddy Roosevelt bar, with a storied history, is located on the second floor of the large building. Since the club moved into its present building in 1964, it has become the home for regular meetings of the Rotary Club, federal workers, retired teachers and others.
When the Legislature swings into action this winter, business will be up an anticipated 10 percent.
Among other places that draw legislators, lobbyists and visitors for dinner are Minerva’s, East 40, Peacock Alley, Pirogue Grill, Blarney Stone Pub, Toasted Frog and the Bistro. There also is the Brazilian Grill on Main Street that draws visitors across the Missouri River to Mandan, N.D.
Bismarck-Mandan Elks Club
900 S. Washington St., Bismarck
Managers: Steve Furcht, Holly Basaroba.
Chef: Dave Schuh.
Lunch, 11:30 a.m.to 1:15 p.m. Monday through Friday; dinner, 5:30 to 9 p.m. weekdays, to 10 p.m. Friday, Saturday.
Telephone: (701) 255-1199.
Report card: A wide range of specialties includes roast duckling and lamb chops makes the Elks Club an inviting place to eat as well as to meet up with friends. White tablecloths and attentive servers help provide a fine dining experience. The place is spacious, and there is ample parking near the doorways. Prices are medium-high range.
Reach Hagerty at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (701) 772-1055.